How do the people of Ember deal with the power outages in Jeanne DuPrau's The City of Ember? Why does Lina decide to show Doon the paper she found? What does Doon find in the Pipeworks? Why is Doon...

How do the people of Ember deal with the power outages in Jeanne DuPrau's The City of Ember? Why does Lina decide to show Doon the paper she found? What does Doon find in the Pipeworks? Why is Doon interested in the subject of fire?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Jeanne DuPrau's The City of Ember, people have varying responses to the power outages that, in the opening chapter, Doon argues with the mayor are getting worse. Most people are completely oblivious that there is a problem. Doon seems to be one of the only ones in Ember who is aware there is a problem and wants to do something about it. In contrast, people like the Believers, who recognize there is a problem, believe in passively waiting to be rescued by the city's Builders. Reactions begin growing more intense when the longest blackout the people have ever experienced occurs in chapter 5. By chapter 6, we learn that the blackout lasted 7 minutes, and people are so terrified that they don't even speak about it.

In chapter 6, the mayor calls a town meeting in which he vaguely assures the citizens that "solutions are being found" but does not yield to the citizens' demands to know exactly what solutions are being sought after. The town breaks out into a riot, "hurling whatever they could find--pebbles, garbage, crumpled paper, even their own hats." Similarly, Doon expresses anger towards his father about the mayor's empty speech and empty response, but Doon's father discourages him from being angry because anger controls a person. Rather than being angry, Doon's father wants Doon to actively pursue a solution. As the story progresses, Lina finds a piece of paper she thinks contains clues to the way out of the city, and she and Doon embark on decoding the message to save the city.

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The City of Ember

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